Curio at Faena Bazaar’s men’s offering is all grown up.
Co-owners Danielle Licata and Jeff Lasota said they felt it was time that the original boyfriend corner within their 20,000-square-foot, tri-level retail emporium graduate to a proper men’s department.
Enlisting the expertise of Faena Group art director Rafa Olarra, they reconfigured the first floor to enlarge the men’s department from 680 to 1,900 square feet with distinct decor on par with women’s sections. Newly captured natural light shows off custom carpets, curved brass fixtures and local artist Austin Kerr’s Jean Cocteau-inspired murals. The remodel also created a straight shot from the front doors on Collins Avenue in addition to the former side street entrance.
There’s more to discover than the destination itself, as product has greatly evolved from sun and swim to full lifestyle.
“Because we’re affiliated with hotels, resort seemed like a natural place to start. But we didn’t have the space to capitalize on our customer who’s looking for a great shirt to go to a wedding or Miami nightlife,” Licat said. “It isn’t about cramming in more product, but doing something for men. Once you get them in the dressing room, the average transaction is much higher than women since men shop on a need basis.”
The new layout has been upgraded with dual dressing rooms to try on items from approximately 60 brands. Soft suits paired with sneakers join signature, terrycloth cabana sets, and there’s more breathing room for ready-to-wear and resort by Aspesi, Barena Venezia, Boglioli, Frescobol Carioca, Marrakshi Life, Sunspel and Vilebrequin.
They’re also betting on emotional outerwear such as soft shearlings and cashmeres for Floridians to take on ski trips and that transients feel compelled to wear home on the plane.
“If they travel to Aspen or Europe in winter, they want something amazing,” Licata said.
The expansion brought in a lot of newcomers including True Tribe, Missoni and Le Kasha, along with Maison Margiela, Marni and Jil Sander, which are being offered for the first time. The latter two are hosting activations during Art Basel.
Sage de Cret, another new line from Japan, caters to the minimalist aesthetic, while a Miami-based fashion photographer and his brother, a stylist, are behind United Rivers’ Western-themed attire.
“We have a lot of DJs and artists who are looking for these one-off pieces,” said Lasota, of buying based on archetypes — the classic customer, fashion-forward creative and bohemian surfer.
Licata added, “We’re testing Double RL to see if we have the rugged archetype, and how they will react if we bought it in a safe way.”
Their matrix is framed on style-led and discovery brands rather than trends. Split evenly down the middle, elevated and casual looks are merchandised by day and night wardrobing versus brand. Instead of a dedicated shoe department, footwear by Christian Louboutin, Sebago and Common Projects and an assortment of flip-flops complement clothing narratives for styling on the spot. Designer sunglasses from Balenciaga, Dior, Celine, Bottega Veneta, Tom Ford and Jacques Marie Mage received their own custom-built vitrine and wall display.
“There’s a void in the market for great menswear that isn’t too trendy, street, sartorial or logo heavy,” said Lasota, who has seen a decline in “normal guy” stores through their wholesale business. “Our customer has taste and a desire to elevate himself.”
Their demographic also has tremendous spending power and is willing to drop tens of thousands of dollars a pop. Word has already gotten out since the remodeled men’s area debuted this fall. (The grand opening is Nov. 30, shortly before the start of Art Basel.) The timing coincides with Miami’s surge in finance and tech moguls, workers and entire companies relocating from New York, Chicago and Silicon Valley, Calif., during the pandemic. They seem to be here for the long haul, too.
“I personally have five friends in finance who moved here with their companies,” said Licata, who expects men’s sales to double from last year. “Men’s accounts for 30 percent of our business.”